One area where the Dolphins have clearly changed their way of doing business under this regime?
The age of the players they’re signing.
Of the Dolphins’ nine additions this week, not a single one is 30. The oldest, Kyle Van Noy, turns 29 next Thursday. In fact, Ryan Fitzpatrick, 37, is the only player on the roster who’s in his 30s.
And that’s not a coincidence.
Six of the nine new additions — Shaq Lawson, Emmanuel Ogbah, Clayton Fedejelem, Ted Karras, Kamu Grugier-Hill and Elandon Roberts — have played exactly four years in the league. Two others — Ereck Flowers and Byron Jones — have played five.
So the Dolphins, in theory, are procuring players who are hitting their prime, players who should be less prone to some injuries that are more likely to come with age.
And that’s a smart thing, because the other approach hasn’t worked.
During the previous decade, the Dolphins signed a bunch of players who were 30 or older, and the results were usually underwhelming.
Two big exceptions: Cornerback Brent Grimes, who was signed at 30 and played at a Pro Bowl level for three years here, and ageless Frank Gore, who gave the Dolphins one season of good work at 35.
But the others? Not so much:
FLASH SALE! Unlimited digital access for $3.99 per month
Don't miss this great deal. Offer ends on March 31st!SAVE NOW
▪ Guard Josh Sitton, 32 in his only season here, broke down after one game and was lost for the season.
▪ Linebacker Lawrence Timmons, 31, went AWOL for the 2017 opener and was an immense disappointment when he suited up.
▪ Quarterback Jay Cutler, signed by Adam Gase at age 34 to save the season after Ryan Tannehill went down in 2017, delivered only six wins and a putrid 80.8 passer rating.
▪ Tight end Anthony Fasano came back for a second-go round with Miami at 33 and was merely OK.
▪ Receiver Danny Amendola, signed at 33, was adequate but not a difference-maker on a 7-9 team.
▪ Offensive tackle Branden Albert, 30 when signed, missed 13 games in three seasons here and ultimately broke down physically. It was health, not performance, that doomed this signing prematurely.
▪ Offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod, signed by Gase at 32, was competent for a time but broke down physically 26 games into his Dolphins career.
▪ Running back Arian Foster, who was an old 30 when he signed here in 2016, lasted only four games.
▪ Defensive end Mario Williams, signed here amid much fanfare at 31, managed only 1.5 sacks in his depressing 13-game stint in 2016.
▪ Receiver Greg Jennings, added at 32 because of his history with then-coach Joe Philbin, managed just 19 receptions in his one season here.
▪ Daryn Colledge, signed at age 32 by the Dolphins to play left guard in 2014 because of his history with Philbin, struggled through 13 games.
▪ Tyson Clabo, signed at 32 as a stopgap right tackle, struggled through his only season in Miami in 2013.
And there are two other more subtle areas where the Dolphins have wisely taken a different road than Gase took:
▪ They’re avoiding players with worrisome injury histories.
Remember how Miami signed tight end Jordan Cameron at age 28, despite three previous concussions? Like clockwork, his Dolphins career ended after 19 games with — what else? — a concussion.
Because of their history together, Gase overlooked tight end Julius Thomas’ multiple injuries that contributed to his decline and signed him anyway in 2017 at 29, and the results were disappointing.
▪ The Dolphins, like most teams, are still plucking players with whom their coaches have histories. What has changed is they’re no longer signing over-the-hill ones.
One of Gase’s undoings here was importing older players he coached previously — Cutler, Sitton, Bushrod and Thomas at the top of that list. None matched their performance from the first time they played for Gase.
Former Patriots assistant coach Brian Flores has 11 former New England players on his Dolphins roster, but none of them are 30, let alone older. Most are in-their-prime vets (such as Van Noy and Karras) or players with upside for whom the Patriots had no roster space (Trent Harris, Ken Webster, etc.).
That’s a smart way of doing business. And distinctly different from the previous approach.
New Dolphins linebacker Elandon Roberts played 70 offensive snaps for the Patriots last season, and Miami could opt to keep him as a use-as-needed fullback, if necessary, instead of Chandler Cox, who received only 66 offensive snaps as a rookie. Roberts, per PFF, played 218 defensive snaps and 148 special teams snaps last season…
The Guthier-Hill contract was for $2 million, with $1 million guaranteed, per NFL Network...
Dolphins great and Hall of Famer Jason Taylor was named defensive coordinator at Fort Lauderdale-based traditional football power St. Thomas Aquinas, where he coached in a lower-profile role in recent years.
Taylor did very good work in his first year on the Dolphins preseason broadcasts on CBS-4. His new gig shouldn’t torpedo that TV job, though both the Dolphins and Taylor’s business associate indicated this week that there’s nothing resolved on that front.
Here’s my Thursday piece on where the Dolphins stand in filling their hole at left tackle.